by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BMIDBAR 5770 BS"D
Ch. 1, v. 44,45,46: "Eileh hapkudim asher pokad Moshe v'Aharon, Va'yi'h'yu kol p'kudai vnei Yisroel …… kol yotzei tzovo, Va'yi'h'yu kol hapkudim sheish mei'os elef" - These are the counts that Moshe and Aharon counted, And all the countings of the bnei Yisroel were …… all who went out to the army, And all the countings totaled 600,000 - Why the triplicate of the same information in these three verses? The Ramban explains that there were three reasons for counting the bnei Yisroel at this juncture. The first was that their remembrance would thus come to Moshe and Aharon and they would beseech Hashem to have mercy upon them, the second that Moshe and Aharon should know who was appropriate to be conscripted into the army, and the third to make public the great kindness of Hashem that He so greatly multiplied the bnei Yisroel who had been a mere 70 people when they descended to Egypt.
Go back to these three verses and you will see that each counting that is mentioned refers specifically to one of these three reasons. (Ksav Sofer)
Ch. 2, v. 12: "V'nossi livnei Gad Elyosof ben R'u'el" - And the chief of the children of Gad was Elyosof the son of R'u'el - His father's name is D'u'el earlier in our parsha and by the offerings of the "n'siim" in parshas Nosso. The Chid"o in the name of Imrei Noam says that the reason Gad merited to have Moshe buried in his land allotment was that this tribe could have launched a complaint when not appointed as a head of three tribes, as was Dan. Dan was the firstborn of Bilhoh while Gad was the firstborn of Zilpoh. Yet the tribe's head voiced no complaint to Moshe. It therefore merited to be have the "friend of Keil," "Rei'a Keil" buried in its land allotment. This is only to be stressed here, by the details of the encampment.
Ch. 3, v. 1: "V'eileh toldos Aharon uMoshe b'yom di'beir Hashem es Moshe b'Har Sinai" - And these are the children of Aharon and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe on Mount Sinai - The next verse lists Aharon's four sons and does not mention Moshe's sons even though our verse says that these are the sons of …… Moshe. The gemara Sanhedrin 19b takes up this issue and derives that since Moshe taught Torah to Aharon's sons it is as if they were his children. This still does not explain why Moshe's biological children were not listed, especially in the light of the fact that at this point in time Nodov and Avihu were no longer alive and Moshe's sons were.
In parshas Ki Siso the verse says, "V'hoyoh kol m'va'keish Hashem yotzo el ohel mo'eid," that when Moshe set up his tent outside the camp all who were interested in hearing the word of Hashem would make the trek. Moshe transmitted the Torah during this period of time only to those who were "m'vakshei Torah." Rashi in parshas Yisro says that when Moshe went back and forth transmitting the words of Hashem and the bnei Yisroel's response, that he did not attend to his personal needs. At that time the bnei Aharon did come to hear his words and his own sons did not. It was at that point that the sons of Aharon had the status of Moshe's sons and his sons did not have this. This is the intention of the words of our verse, "b'yom di'beir Hashem el Moshe b'Har Sinai." At that time he was not involved with his personal family matters, and the same was true later when he moved his tent outside the camp. (Chasam Sofer)
Ch. 3, v. 2: "Bnei Aharon habchor | Nodov" - The sons of Aharon the firstborn Nodov - Daas Z'keinim takes note of the "psik" mark after the word Aharon, and explains that this shows us that the intention of our verse is to call Aharon the firstborn and then the verse goes on to enumerate his four sons. The reason that the verse does not clearly state that Nodov is the firstborn is because he died during his father's lifetime and there were no firstborn benefits bestowed upon him. Although Aharon was not a firstborn, as Miriam was three years older than he was, between the sons of Amrom he was the elder. What remains to be explained is that even though Aharon was older than Moshe he was not really a "b'chor," so why call him a "b'chor?" By citing the words of the Meshech Chochmoh later on in our parsha an explanation comes to light.
<< Ch. 3, v. 47: "Esrim geiroh hashokel" - The Meshech Chochmoh points out that the Torah tells us in four places that twenty "geiroh" equal one shekel. They are Shmos 30:13, Vayikra 27:25, Bmidbar 3:47 and 18:16.
He says that it is necessary to point this out, as there is a need for fractions of a shekel in regard to the subject matter of each of these four places.
1) Shmos 30:13 discusses the giving of a half-shekel for the Mishkon. Since a fraction is to be given, the "geiroh" is mentioned.
2) Vayikra 27:25 discusses the payment for an inherited field which was sanctified. This is pro-rated at 50 shekel for 49 years from one Yovel to the next. This obviously involves fractions of a shekel as well.
3) Bmidbar 3:47 discusses the five shekel redemption of the 273 people who were not redeemed through a Levi exchange. The total of their shekels equaled 1,365. This is divisible by three resulting in complete integers. Why then is there a need to mention "geiroh?" The Meshech Chochmoh answers that the gemara Bovo Basro 143b says that from the words "l'Aharon ul'vonov" in our verse we derive that the total was split between Aharon and his sons, with Aharon receiving an equal amount as his two sons combined. This would require splitting the total by four, leaving us with a fraction.
4) Bmidbar 18:16 again discusses the five shekels for redemption of the first-born. Since this is exactly five shekels why the need to tell us the "geiroh" fraction? The Meshech Chochmoh answers that there are fractions when one redeems a first-born from more than one Kohein. One may split the five shekels among many Kohanim and this is valid as mentioned in the gemara B'choros 51b.>>
In the third case, where Aharon and his sons split among themselves the 1,365 shkolim given by the 273 firstborn who were not redeemed through Lviim, Aharon is treated like a "b'chor." This might be the reason he may be called a "b'chor." (n.l.) Alternatively, the gemara Sanhedrin 7a relates Aharon's reasoning when agreeing to make a golden calf. Chur was already slaughtered by the unruly crowd. He feared that if he would likewise stand in opposition to the wishes of this group he would likewise be killed, and there would be the fulfillment of the verse, "Im yeiho'reig Kohein v'novi b'yom echod," a dire warning that great distruction would come about when both a Kohein and a prophet are killed on one day, as would in the future be the case when Zecharioh ben Y'hoyodo would be killed. He therefore thought that it would be better that they sin and there would be the hope that they would repent, than to bring severe retribution for such a set of grievous sins. At that time service of sacrifices was still done by the firstborns, so how would killing Aharon be considered killing a Kohein? We see from this that in some sense he had the status of a firstborn, at that time equated with a Kohein in later times. For this reason Aharon may rightly be called a Kohein. (n.l.)
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